posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 12:34 AM
Next time you say "you can sleep when you're dead," you might want to rethink your statement. A study by the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine found that a lack of sleep can actually, well... kill.
Not only can chronic sleep deprivation leave you short-tempered, but it can also put a lot of unneeded stress on your heart, which in turn can raise
your risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
AFP reported that the study, which was released on Wednesday, found that just five nights of poor sleep can significantly stress the heart.
39 volunteers were studied twice. Once in the beginning when each volunteer got ten hours of sleep per night, and again a second time when they only
received four hours of sleep for five nights straight.
Surprisingly, all 39 volunteers were shown to have a much faster heart rate following the nights of sleep deprivation. Electrocardiograms also showed
each volunteer to have less heart rate variability, or performance when under stress.
"The effect of the sleep deficit was to increase the stress on the hearts of these volunteers," said Siobhan Banks, the person behind the study.
"If our finding is sustained by a larger group and further analysis, it may suggest why short sleep duration is associated with a heightened risk of
cardiovascular disease and mortality."
This isn't the first study which has found that a lack of sleep can cause health problems. Last year a similar study found that workers of second and
third shift jobs are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
So if a lack of sleep can kill, can extra sleep help?
At the same conference on Wednesday, researchers from Stanford University reported that extra sleep can actually help athletes play better and give
everyday people an extra boost. No negative reports were given on people getting too much sleep.
The study by Stanford took six athletes from the school and found that they were able to shave seconds off sprint times and improve their shooting
percentages after getting as much sleep as possible. It's almost as if there is no such thing as "too much sleep."
Study: A Lack of Sleep Can Put Stress on Heart and Can Be Fatal